Amid today’s supply chain disruptions, logistics takes higher profile
For many furniture designers and product development gurus, the subject of logistics generates about as much excitement as the final two minutes of a 49-0 football game. But as the post-lockdown home furnishings sales boom has scrambled supply chains worldwide, it’s a topic that needs to be top of mind for everyone – even those who can’t distinguish a shipping manifest from a grocery list.
And there’s good reason to start paying attention -- many furniture factories and raw materials suppliers haven’t been able to keep up with surging demand. So even though a retail buyer or designer might spot that perfect sofa in a manufacturer’s showroom or online catalog, it can be anyone’s guess when that piece of furniture will actually be delivered to the customer.
Since late summer, we’ve heard multiple stories of manufacturers quoting delivery dates 20 to 25 weeks or more into the future. Large retail chains are a little better prepared to deal with that, but it’s a nightmarish scenario for smaller retailers and interior designers who need product badly.
That’s why topics like product styling and construction quality took a back seat to logistics at recent furniture markets in Las Vegas, Atlanta and High Point. Even though buyer and designer attendance was a fraction of the normal turnout, those who did show up were ready to buy – and they weren’t willing to wait 20 weeks. If fact, most didn’t want to wait at all, which gave a huge competitive advantage to manufacturers with product that was in-stock and available for immediate shipment.
We certainly are not suggesting product styling and quality aren’t important, but anyone who’s ordering home furnishings these days should ask first about product availability. Those normally anonymous logistics people might become your new best friends.